In a month-long consultation released on 28 June 2012, the NSW Government proposed that its small business commissioner be empowered to require a party to produce evidence and attend mediation. However, this does not mean a dispute will be forced into settlement, as parties will retain the right to litigate through the courts.
The consultation also proposes that the commissioner have power to commence litigation on behalf of small businesses against large business/government. In order to become law, the proposals will need to be supported via the consultation process.
The mediation proposals have been modelled on the Retail Leases Act which operates in NSW and has been successful in resolving disputes (a success rate of over 80% at mediation has been recorded).